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Woj: Rockets open for business on Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker

Woj bomb means Morey’s ready and willing.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason has been full of rumors and fake news about our Houston Rockets, but when the dirt is coming from Woj, it’s pretty rock-solid, and he’s reporting the Rockets are shopping Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker in an attempt to create the assets and/or cap space to fit in Jimmy Butler.

According to Woj:

The Rockets want to secure the best available first-round pick acquired for any one of three players as part of a larger deal with Philadelphia for Butler, league sources said. Redirecting salaries elsewhere for Butler could deliver the 76ers a large trade exception that it could use in acquiring a player over the course of the next year.

If Butler and the 76ers were open to the trade scenario -- and there has yet to be a formal indication the team or Butler are interested -- the Rockets would need to include two or three of those players in a deal to the Sixers or a third team to make the salaries match on a four-year, $140 million maximum contract for Butler.

So if Jimmy Butler is serious about coming to Houston — and if there’s this much smoke, the Rockets must have some inkling that he might be interested, even if nothing’s been said — then Houston is going to most likely be light at least two out of those three players in any Butler scenario.

There’s some pretty tricky cap stuff going on with this scenario, and I’m going to be honest with you, capology is far from my forte, but it involves base year compensation for Butler at a max salary. The 76ers will only be able to receive back 125 percent of Butler’s $20.4 million base compensation, which comes out to $25.7 million.

That precludes the 76ers from receiving Gordon and Capela together, because their salaries are too high, so a third team will be required to send back a first-round pick for one of those players if they are dealt.

The Rockets have some limitations sending out Tucker with either Gordon or Capela, which further complicates matters, but in any scenario, there is a third team involved. Whether the Rockets end up losing all of these guys in a Butler deal or just two of them is yet to be determined, and I believe there are possible scenarios either way, but the important thing to note is that Philly seems intent on keeping Butler themselves, which really murks up the situation.

How this all eventually shakes out is anyone’s guess, because even though Morey has the rep of a magician, this is a complicated scenario that has multiple levels, any of which could fall through before a deal is consummated.

But if it’s coming from Woj, the Rockets are serious, and we all know by now never to put anything past Morey. Whether it’s ultimately the right decision or not, however, is whole ‘nother story.


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